Pence backed out of the scheduled appearances on Saturday, just a day after claiming that the nation is “flattening the curve,” which is not true.
As of Friday, the U.S. seven-day average of new cases increased more than 41% compared with a week ago.
Pence is skipping the appearances “out of an abundance of caution” due to the case spike in the states, according to the Trump campaign.
The scheduled events — which included a stop in Tucson, Arizona, and a bus tour with appearances in Sarasota and Lake Wales, Florida — were part of the campaign’s “Faith in America” tour, which targets evangelical voters.
Pence still plans to travel to Florida, Arizona and Texas this coming week to meet with the states’ governors and their health care officials for a “ground report” concerning spiking cases in the states.
He’s also still scheduled to speak at First Baptist Church in Dallas next weekend as part of a “Celebrate Freedom” event. The website for the event says that “masks and social distancing are strongly encouraged while on the campus of First Baptist Dallas.”
Florida and Texas have shut down bars in a desperate bid to stem the exploding number of coronavirus in their state. The Miami-Dade County mayor is also shutting down all area beaches over the July Fourth holiday weekend.
“We opened up too fast,” Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said on the “Today” show Saturday. “We opened up bars, we opened up nightclubs, and it’s the combination of all that that has led us to where we are today.”
A CBS News reporter suggested Friday to Pence that the campaign was “part of the problem” battling COVID-19 because its staffers do not wear masks or practice safe social distancing to help curb the spread of the disease.
Pence responded with a non sequitur: “I want to remind you again that free speech and the right to peacefully assemble is enshrined in the Constitution” — even though wearing a mask and following social distancing guidelines do not prohibit free speech.